Sunday, 20 January 2013

Diving Malapascua


Sunset @ Malapascua Island


APRIL 2007
Malapascua Island, Cebu 

I can still remember being excited for this trip. I was so looking forward to seeing thresher sharks for the first time.

This is one of our dive group's (Hello Divers) dive trip outside of Luzon.

From the Mactan International Airport, we hired a van to take us to Maya Pier, north of Cebu Island, the jump-off point to Malapascua. Then we hired an outrigger boat to bring us to the island.We have no choice because we have our dive gears with us.

1st batch to Malapascua
After sorting out our accommodation problems, we settled in  and had our very late lunch, before exploring the island.
  
While most of us slept the afternoon away (including me), others did not lose time exploring the island and swimming. I woke up at 4pm and decided to join the rest of the group at the beach. Our part of the island is so quiet and secluded, it is paradise!


The view from our cottage
Malapascua white sand beach
The 1st day was more relaxed. After swimming and camwhoring, we started fixing and sorting our dive gears for the very early date with the threshers the following day. We had night cap at a floating bar before taking a very late dinner after.

Woke up very early the following day to keep our appointment with the threshers. But unfortunately, we were able to dive Monad Shoal past sunrise already as we have to wait for the rest of our diver friends who were coming from Cebu that day. :( Really sad we did not get to see the sharks. Monad Shoal is an underwater plateau --the only place one can see thresher sharks regularly before sunrise, and where pelagic also abound. The sea mount is used by the sharks as a cleaning station---where wrasse remove parasites from their skin and clean their gills and mouth. 
Ready to dive!
Disappointed with Monad Shoal, we proceeded to Gato Island. We enjoyed the dive and snorkeling in the area. Later in the afternoon, we dove along Malapascua shores to witness the colorful Mandarin fish do their mating dance early in the evening. Well, they did not mate but I got to see one. What a lovely creature! Too bad I was not able to capture one decent shot as they hurriedly hide amongst corals as soon as they see the dive lights. :(

Despite the disappointments,  we had a great time in Malapascua, albeit short. A great weekend trip.
Mandarin Fish (photo from services.flickie.com)
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Getting to Malapascua:

From Manila, take the flight to Cebu Island. You will land at Mactan International Airport. Malapascua is located north of the island of Cebu, and travel by land and ferry is a total of 3-5 hours depending on your choice of transportation and travel time. Best to take the earliest flight to Cebu.

Option 1: Private transfers - Before arriving Malapascua, you can arranged from the resort for an airport pick-up and transfers to the resort. This is a bit expensive but more convenient. 

Option 2: By Taxi - You can hire a taxi from the airport or the North Bus terminal that will cost you around P4,800 to P6,000 one way depending on your haggling skills.

Option 3:  By bus - from the airport, take a taxi/cab to the North Bus terminal. Take Ceres Bus or Rough Riders to Maya Pier. Buses to Maya leave every 20 minutes and runs 24hours. While buses from Maya pier to Cebu runs from 1am to 6pm only. Non-aircon buses is non-stop and takes 4 hours. Aircon buses have designated stops and takes them 5hours to reach Maya Pier. Bus fares is around P150-200 per way.

From Maya Pier,  there are 2 options:

Option 1 Private boat - hire a private boat from the pier. Cost may range from P1,500 to P2,000 depending on time of day and your haggling skills. Trip will take about 30 minutes.

Option 2: Public boat - you will have to wait for the boat to be full before it leaves the port. Be sure to be at the port before 5pm to catch the last trip for the day. Fare is P80 per person and travel time is also 30 minutes.
 

 

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